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Gun-Rights Advocates Are Key To Saving The Bill Of Rights

From America’s First Free­dom — “Civ­i­liza­tion is the progress toward a soci­ety of pri­va­cy. The savage’s whole exis­tence is pub­lic, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civ­i­liza­tion is the process of set­ting man free from men.” –Ayn Rand

Many gun-rights advo­cates will tell you they have become “sin­gle-issue vot­ers.” Some say this with a shrug, as if to com­mu­ni­cate they have no oth­er choice giv­en the attacks on our free­dom. Oth­ers say this boast­ful­ly, as a taunt to the polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness of this age. In either case, when they tell me this, I always answer, “You’re not real­ly a sin­gle-issue vot­er, you know?”

They stop. Their eyes tight­en. They are won­der­ing whether I’m chal­leng­ing their con­vic­tions. So I explain that the mil­lions of Amer­i­cans who see the Sec­ond Amend­ment as some­thing to hold tight­ly onto are, by the nature of their fun­da­men­tal stance, pro­tect­ing much more than gun rights.

Invari­ably their expres­sion soft­ens, and they ask what I mean.

The con­stituen­cy of cit­i­zens who stand togeth­er to form the NRA are pro­tect­ing much more the Sec­ond Amend­ment, as our right to keep and bear arms isn’t a stand-alone right, but is (as it must be) linked to our oth­er nat­ur­al rights and con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­tec­tions from gov­ern­ment as out­lined in the U.S. Bill of Rights.

… the mil­lions of Amer­i­cans who see the Sec­ond Amend­ment as some­thing to hold tight­ly onto are, by the nature of their fun­da­men­tal stance, pro­tect­ing much more than gun rights.

The First Amend­ment pro­tects, among oth­er things, our free­dom of reli­gion, our free­dom of speech, our free­dom of asso­ci­a­tion and our right to peti­tion our gov­ern­ment (in oth­er words, to lob­by). This free­dom of speech and right to peti­tion was attacked in 2002 by a piece of cam­paign finance reform leg­is­la­tion known as the Bipar­ti­san Cam­paign Reform Act of 2002. This leg­is­la­tion made it ille­gal for cor­po­ra­tions or asso­ci­a­tions, such as the NRA, to run ads for or against a politi­cian with­in 30 days of a pri­ma­ry or cau­cus or 60 days of a gen­er­al elec­tion.

Your NRA was instru­men­tal is the legal push that led to the 2010 Supreme Court deci­sion in the caseCit­i­zens Unit­ed v. FEC, which over­turned this pro­vi­sion bar­ring mem­bers of the NRA, for exam­ple, from pool­ing their mon­ey to push back against a politi­cian who has or wants to take away their free­dom. (It is worth not­ing that Hillary Clin­ton wants to nom­i­nate jus­tices to the Supreme Court who would over­turn Cit­i­zens Unit­ed and again allow gov­ern­ment to cen­sor polit­i­cal speech.)

It is help­ful to see this par­tic­u­lar fight in con­text. Remem­ber that in 2002 many anti-Sec­ond Amend­ment politi­cians were attempt­ing to sue gun man­u­fac­tur­ers for the actions of crim­i­nals. The law­suits weren’t giv­ing anti-gun groups and politi­cians vic­to­ries in court, as they were friv­o­lous, but they were finan­cial­ly harm­ing America’s gun man­u­fac­tur­ers.

But even though politi­cians were doing this to gun mak­ers, those gun mak­ers were barred from fight­ing back with ads call­ing out those politi­cians dur­ing the time imme­di­ate­ly pre­ced­ing elec­tions. In oth­er words, Amer­i­ca had an age-old man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor that was both being bank­rupt­ed by gov­ern­ment law­suits and at the same time wasn’t allowed to pub­licly fight back against the elect­ed rep­re­sen­ta­tives who want­ed to destroy them.

Despite these unde­mo­c­ra­t­ic imped­i­ments, after years of lob­by­ing Con­gress passed the Pro­tec­tion of Law­ful Com­merce in Arms Act, an act signed into fed­er­al law in 2005 that shields gun man­u­fac­tur­ers from being sued for the crim­i­nal mis­use of their prod­ucts, while retain­ing the right of peo­ple to file suit against firearms man­u­fac­tur­ers for prod­uct lia­bil­i­ty claims. With­out the NRA’s mil­lions of mem­bers and its ded­i­cat­ed lob­by­ists, the Pro­tec­tion of Law­ful Com­merce in Arms Act would nev­er have passed (and if Hillary Clin­ton wins this com­ing elec­tion and gets her way, this law will be repealed).

Such exam­ples illus­trate that lob­by­ing by cor­po­ra­tions and asso­ci­a­tions can be a crit­i­cal self-defense mech­a­nism against gov­ern­ment. Sure, lob­by­ing and pay­ing for issue ads aren’t inher­ent­ly good or bad any more than free speech is inher­ent­ly good or bad; it’s the First Amend­ment right to “peti­tion the gov­ern­ment” and to speak one’s mind that is good, and the loss of it that is bad.

… lob­by­ing by cor­po­ra­tions and asso­ci­a­tions can be a crit­i­cal self-defense mech­a­nism against gov­ern­ment.

This wasn’t a Sec­ond Amend­ment issue, but it was, as you can’t pro­tect the Sec­ond with­out the First.

There have been sim­i­lar fights in which gun-rights advo­cates have been the key to vic­to­ry. A cur­rent exam­ple now being waged is over our Fifth Amend­ment right to due process under the law. Hillary Clin­ton wants to add gov­ern­ment black lists, such as the no-fly list, to the FBI’s Nation­al Instant Crim­i­nal Back­ground Check Sys­tem (NICS). This is a clear Fifth Amend­ment vio­la­tion. Any hon­est judge would strike down any gov­ern­ment attempt to do this. There are very sim­ple and smart ways for the gov­ern­ment to make sure those on ter­ror­ist watch lists don’t get guns. It isn’t nec­es­sary to destroy a basic con­sti­tu­tion­al free­dom to make this hap­pen. Once again, the peo­ple who are stand­ing most stead­fast­ly in the way of this con­sti­tu­tion­al infringe­ment are gun-rights advo­cates.

The NRA is unique­ly poised to pro­tect your free­dom because the NRA, unlike so many today, isn’t stand­ing in a com­pro­mised posi­tion. The NRA is a civ­il-lib­er­ties orga­ni­za­tion that isn’t par­ti­san, but is dogged­ly focused on pro­tect­ing our indi­vid­ual right to bear arms. To see this for your­self, sim­ply look at the “A” to “F” grades the NRA gives can­di­dates near elec­tions. You’ll find that the grades aren’t par­ti­san, but sim­ply weigh each candidate’s stance on gun rights.

This clear, prin­ci­pled stand is exact­ly why the NRA is so cen­tral to pro­tect­ing all our free­doms. It is also a key rea­son why politi­cians like Hillary Clin­ton see the NRA as an asso­ci­a­tion of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans she must destroy to get what she real­ly wants.

This is why I say to those gun own­ers who claim to be sin­gle-issue vot­ers, “No, you are not a sin­gle-issue voter—you are a free­dom vot­er.”

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ER1C ☠

ER1C ☠

Dedicated Second Amendment Advocate, At-Home Gunsmith, Designer, Blogger, Video Guy, Author, Business Owner & ReloadOne Member.

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